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For Educators

 

Hominy without Lye

USDA Extension Service used to have home canning directions for lye hominy. This procedure was removed from the publications in the 1980's due to poor availability of food grade lye, concerns over the safety of handling lye in the home, and lack of popular interest. The directions have remained in print in the University of Georgia's So Easy to Preserve book. Food grade lye is not something you purchase over the counter in stores, and it is not easy to locate. It is also very expensive and extremely hazardous to use. For that reason, we no longer recommend using it in the old USDA/So Easy to Preserve home canning directions for making hominy. After reviewing several sources and talking to someone who has made lye hominy in the past, we are offering a recommendation which removes the hulls from the corn with a baking soda solution instead of lye. Be advised we have not tested the quality of the hominy made this way. In fact, since this product is still somewhat high risk unless rinses are performed very thoroughly, and this process is so time consuming and involves such a large quantity of heat and water resources, it is more advisable to purchase commercially produced canned hominy.

First, the original procedure, from So Easy to Preserve,4th ed. (Cooperative Extension Service, The University of Georgia, 1999, p. 66):

(Original) Lye Hominy
(about 6 quart jars)

Hot Pack—Prepare lye hominy in a well ventilated room. Place 2 quarts of dry field corn in an enamel pan; add 8 quarts of water and 2 ounces of lye. Boil vigorously for 30 minutes, then allow to stand for 20 minutes. Rinse off lye with several hot water rinses. Follow with cold water rinses to cool for handling. It is very important to rinse the corn thoroughly.

Work hominy with hands until the dark tips of kernels are loosened from the rest of the kernel (about 5 minutes). Separate the tips from the corn by floating them off in water or by placing the corn in a coarse sieve and washing thoroughly.

Add sufficient water to cover the hominy by about 1 inch. Boil 5 minutes and change the water. Repeat four times. Cook until the kernels are soft (30 to 45 minutes) and drain. Pack hot hominy into hot jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. Add ½ teaspoon salt to pints; 1 teaspoon to quarts, if desired. Fill jars to 1 inch from top with boiling water. Remove air bubbles. Wipe jar rims. Adjust lids and process.

Process in a Dial Gauge Pressure Canner at 11 pounds pressure OR in a Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner at 10 pounds pressure:

Pints...............................................................60 minutes

Quarts............................................................70 minutes

Caution! Altitude Adjustments:

In a Dial Gauge Pressure Canner

  • At altitudes of 1001-2000 feet, the pressure is not increased; process at 11 pounds pressure.
  • At altitudes of 2001-4000 feet, process at 12 pounds pressure.
  • At altitudes of 4001-6000 feet, process at 13 pounds pressure.
  • At altitudes of 6001-8000 feet, process at 14 pounds pressure.

In a Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner

  • At altitudes above 1000 feet, process at 15 pounds pressure.

The substitution recipe we are providing:

Hominy without Lye

Preparing Hominy — Prepare hominy in a well ventilated room. Use 2 Tablespoons of baking soda to 2 quarts of water for 1 quart of dry field corn; you can double the recipe if your stainless steel pot is large enough. Add the baking soda to the water; bring to a boil while stirring to dissolve the baking soda. Then add the dry field corn, stirring continuously to prevent sticking. Boil vigorously for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then allow to stand for 20 minutes. Rinse off the baking soda solution with several changes of hot water. Follow with cold water rinses to cool for handling. It is very important to rinse the corn thoroughly.

Work hominy with hands under running water until the dark tips of kernels are loosened from the rest of the kernel. (When working the hulls to remove the dark tips, do so under running water in a colander so the shelled kernels have little contact with the remaining unshelled corn with hulls that still have baking soda solution on them.) Separate the tips from the corn by placing the corn in a coarse sieve and rinsing thoroughly.

Hot Pack—Add sufficient water to cover the hominy by about 1 inch. Boil 5 minutes and change the water. Repeat this process with clean water each time for 4 more times. In fresh water again, cook the rinsed kernels until the kernels are soft (30 to 45 minutes) and drain. Meanwhile, prepare fresh boiling water to be used when filling jars for canning. Fill the hot hominy into clean, hot jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. Do not shake or press down! Add ½ teaspoon canning salt to pints or 1 teaspoon to quarts, if desired. Fill jars to 1 inch from top with fresh boiling water. Remove air bubbles. Re-adjust headspace if necessary. Wipe jar rims with dampened clean paper towel. Adjust lids and process.

Process in a Dial Gauge Pressure Canner at 11 pounds pressure OR in a Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner at 10 pounds pressure:

Pints...............................................................60 minutes

Quarts............................................................70 minutes

Caution! Altitude Adjustments:

In a Dial Gauge Pressure Canner

  • At altitudes of 1001-2000 feet, the pressure is not increased; process at 11 pounds pressure.
  • At altitudes of 2001-4000 feet, process at 12 pounds pressure.
  • At altitudes of 4001-6000 feet, process at 13 pounds pressure.
  • At altitudes of 6001-8000 feet, process at 14 pounds pressure.

In a Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner

  • At altitudes above 1000 feet, process at 15 pounds pressure.


June 2005. Released by Elizabeth L. Andress, Ph.D., Extension Food Safety Specialist. The University of Georgia, Athens.

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